Detail

Title ID 3238Collection ID471
Title[Procedures in the Event of an Enemy Attack]
Date[1941?]
CollectionWest Sussex Home Guard
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemeWartime and Military
KeywordsArmed Forces Civil Defence Landscape Rural Areas Second World War (1939-1945) Wars
Location
LocalChichester [?]
RegionalWest Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
Credits
ProductionNot known
ParticipantsMajor Barton; Colonel Gundar (?); Jenkins
Format16mm Black & White Sound
Duration15 min. 42 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details

Summary

A film depicting the defence procedures of the West Sussex Home Guard. The narrative is centred around the fictional town of Onebridge and uses commentary to introduce the staged scenes.

Description

The local Home Guard Battalion Commander chairs an emergency meeting in the fictional town of Onebridge. Representatives from local civil defence groups and public service bodies, including the food executive, the medical officer of health, the town surveyor and the district transport officer, all acknowledge their roles in the event of an enemy invasion. The 10th Battalion of the Wessex Home Guard call for volunteers - a posted letter reads, "those with expert knowledge of building and construction are needed to assist in the making of field works and defences." Members of the Home Guard battalion are filmed in various outdoor training exercises - they practice on the firing range, handle numerous weapons including a Browning machine gun, a Browning automatic and bayonets, and learn about map reading. Platoon commanders plan the network of defence in the countryside around Onebridge. Later, these lines of defence are tested by a visiting General who upsets expectations by walking rather than driving to the roadblocks. The Home Guard respond positively to the General's surprise tactics - an animated map details their response. The General joins Colonel Gundar (?) on a tour of inspection, visiting the camouflaged gun positions, roadblocks and trip wires which populate the countryside surrounding the arterial roads. A mobile reserve receives its orders before the film ends abruptly - the end of the film appears to be missing.

Stills

A still from [Procedures in the Event of an Enemy Attack] (1941?)A still from [Procedures in the Event of an Enemy Attack] (1941?)

Contextual information

The production context of [Procedures in the Event of an Enemy Attack] (1941?) is unknown but it is highly probable that it was a training film made and/or commissioned by the West Sussex Home Guard. Screen Archive South East holds three other training films which are in the same vein - they are all called West Sussex Home Guard (1941?). One of these films is known to have been produced by a commander of the West Sussex Home Guard - commanders were responsible for the training of new recruits and films were one of the inventive methods employed by some to do this.

In May 1940 an appeal was made for men aged between 40 and 65 to join the Local Defence Volunteers (LDVs - later known as the Home Guard). By the end of June nearly a million and a half men had been recruited nationwide, creating a force intended to delay an enemy invasion until the Armed Forces could be mobilized. The Home Guard was established at a time when the threat of such an invasion was very real. Initially however the Home Guard was poorly resourced - weaponry mostly consisted of First World War relics, bayonets and imported guns. In addition, the Home Guard came to be nicknamed 'Dad's Army' because the majority of volunteers were too old to serve in the regular army. [Procedures in the Event of an Enemy Attack] (1941?) therefore provides an interesting record of the Home Guard, offering positive images of the weaponry, the troops and the activities of the civil defence body in West Sussex.

Screen Archive South East houses films which record the work of the Civil Defence Services during the Second World War, namely Leatherhead Newsreel (1940 - 1945) and Civilians in Uniform (1946).

Related titles

Related resources

Books

Crook, Paul. Sussex Home Guard. Midhurst: Middleton Press, 1998

Copies of this book about the Home Guard in East and West Sussex are available at various Sussex libraries.

Green, A.F.U. Home Guard Pocket Book (West Sussex H.G.). Worthing: Worthing Gazette Ltd, 1940

This book, written by Brigadier General A.F.U Green, a volunteer in the Storrington Platoon, is available at Chichester and Worthing libraries.

Home Guard List 1941. South Eastern Command - Kent, Surrey and Sussex.* n.p.: Savannah Publications, 2005

Copies of this book are available at various West Sussex libraries.

Mackenzie, S.P. The Home Guard: A Military and Political History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995

Copies of this book about the history of the Home Guard are available at various Sussex libraries.

West Sussex County Council Library Service. Chichester and District at War, 1939-1945. n.p.: West Sussex County Council Library Service, Local Studies Department, 1994

This book contains a compilation of material about Chichester during the Second World War, covering a range of subjects including the Home Guard and bombing raids. A copy of the book is available at Chichester library.

Collections

Imperial War Museum

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the collections of the Imperial War Museum include Film and Video, Photographs, Sound, Art, Documents and Printed Books. Amateur film is well represented in the Film and Video Archive. The collections’ database is searchable online.
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections-research

Mass-Observation Archive

“The Mass-Observation Archive specialises in material about everyday life in Britain. It contains papers generated by the original Mass-Observation social research organisation (1937 to early 1950s), and newer material collected continuously since 1981.” The Archive holds a large amount of material relating people’s experiences during wartime, including material relevant to the Home Guard and other Civil Defence Services. A search facility is available online.
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/library/massobs/introduction.html

The National Archives

The National Archives at Kew houses numerous collections that refer to the Home Guard, including governmental records. The National Archives' database is searchable online.
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

West Sussex Record Office

"West Sussex Record Office collects and preserves the documentary and recorded heritage of the County of West Sussex." The West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) holds various collections on the subject of the Home Guard in West Sussex. The WSRO collections can also be searched on the National Archives website
http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure/explore_west_sussex/record_office_and_archives.aspx
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Films

About the Home Guard* (1940)

"The Local Defence Volunteers are new renamed The Home Guard. The men are busy training for the defence of the country." The film record can be found on The British Universities Film and Video Council's News On Screen database.
http://bufvc.ac.uk/newsonscreen

Home Guard Anniversary* (1943)

Representatives of the Home Guard celebrate its 3rd anniversary by parading in front of King George VI at Hyde Park. This Pathé newsreel, along with numerous others about the Home Guard, can be accessed via the British Pathé website.
http://www.britishpathe.com/

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

Newspaper articles about the Chichester Home Guard are held in the Accession File. The articles are from the local newspaper in the 1980s and feature photographs and personal accounts of duties carried out by the Home Guard during the war.

Newspapers

Articles on the West Sussex Home Guard can be found in various local newspapers including Chichester Observer, Chichester and Sussex Post, West Sussex County Times and West Sussex Gazette. Copies of the aforementioned newspapers are held at the West Sussex Record Office.